Charles Lloyd: Song of Her


Song of Her


Charles Lloyd Quartet


The Water is Wide (ECM 1734)

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Charles Lloyd (tenor sax, flute), Brad Mehldau (piano), Larry Grenadier (bass), Billy Higgins (Drums).

Composed by Cecil McBee


Recorded: : Los Angeles, CA, December 1999


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Cecil McBee's luminous ballad "Song of Her" first appeared in 1966 on Charles Lloyd's best-known album, Forest Flower," with the composer on bass, Keith Jarrett on piano, and Jack DeJohnette on drums. It wasn't until well into Lloyd's "comeback" on ECM that he began to revisit some of the classic tunes from his "60's repertoire (except for "Forest Flower," which he recorded with Michel Petrucciani in 1982).

The original "Song of Her" was enhanced by the broad, well-rounded tone and buoyant pulse of the masterful McBee, but on this remake Grenadier comes close to duplicating McBee's overall impact. Lloyd's tone is not quite as deep and throaty as on the '66 version, but is just as expressive, with similar trademark inflections along the way. Mehldau offers up Jarrett-like chording and sound quality, and Grenadier is a rock in delivering the predominant three-note ostinato, but the subdued Higgins eshews DeJohnette's shimmering cymbal splashes. Mehldau's lyrical, romantic solo is his own reverent and transfixing blend of Jarrett and Bill Evans, aided by Higgins' impeccably tasteful punctuations. Lloyd diverges from the original by following the piano solo with an improvisation rather than an immediate return to the theme. His solo begins with long, wistful tones before a more intense multi-noted passage that quickly recedes and evolves into McBee's melody. This interpretation more than holds its own with the shorter one created some 33 years earlier.

Reviewer: Scott Albin


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